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In order to set up your website and make it accessible to the public, you need to utilize a hosting server. The easiest way to do this is by utilize a web hosting service. Web hosting companies allow you to rent space on one of their servers, or rent your own server, which you can customize for your specific web-based needs. Web hosts usually provide special software that you can install to that server in order to create and manage your website, email, and other web accounts.
Web hosts typically offer a range of hosting packages, including:
- Free Hosting – This entry-level hosting is usually ad supported and is not available with your own, custom domain name. Many blogging platforms, such as WordPress.com, provide free hosting as a way to get started online without having to make a financial commitment.
- Unlimited or Shared Hosting – These are typically some of the cheapest hosting plans available, because your website shares a server with many other websites. It is also the least secure for this same reason, but it can be ideal for personal or small business sites that don’t require secure access.
- VPN Hosting – With Virtual Private Network hosting, your website is hosted on the same computer as other sites, but is kept completely separate and has its own operating system. VPN is a highly secure hosting option, but more expensive than shared hosting.
- Dedicated Hosting – This is usually the most expensive form of hosting, but also the most secure and customizable, because your site is placed on its very own server.
Hosts can also be used on internal networks to store media or files. For instance, if you have multiple computers on your home network, you can set up file sharing from one or more of those machines. The machine sharing its files is then acting as the host server. You can also set up a computer as a media server, which allows other devices in your home to stream movies and music directly from that host computer.
Learn More: Finding a Home for Your Site,
Frequently Asked Questions
Is my host the same company I purchased my domain name from?
In some cases, this will be the same company you purchased your domain name through, but it doesn’t have to be. You can purchase web hosting separately and then link your domain to your host’s servers, simply by updating your domain’s DNS settings. In fact, it is usually a better idea to purchase your domain separately, since this gives you more flexibility to change hosts if you are dissatisfied with the service or find a better hosting package. It is also usually less expensive to purchase the two separately.
Can I host a website from my own computer?
Yes. Provided you have the correct software installed on your computer, you can host a website from your home or office; however, this may open you up to additional security risks, especially if you are also using that machine for your day-to-day computer needs. You can also purchase your own equipment and house it at someone else’s hosting facility. Many business-class web hosts offer this colocation service.